Release destructive emotions

 

Validating is Listening

I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

My wife played a tape of me arguing with my daughter and I couldn’t believe it was me talking. I was out of my head. – A co-dependent dad

Stay listening. You will be surprised at what you can learn from your children. Practice active listening. Children feel validated when someone really listens rather than just judging them, that’s one reason their peers gain so much power over them. If their friends listen and make them feel accepted and you do not, guess whose values they will take in.

active listening, validating

Try to understand that children do go through phases and the best thing to do is just ride them out. Learn active listening and work on cleaning up your lecturing so you can talk in the ways that your children will actually listen.

To encourage open communication get your child to think and express his or her opinion. Know that the opinion is probably a transitory one and won’t be acted upon unless you overreact and go ballistic. Listen to their opinion then ask them to respect you and listen as you express yours. Remind your child that your opinion is based on years of experience and living. Remember that he is trying on different ways of thinking and opinions and may not even believe what he passionately says. He may say thing just to shock you. It may be an idea he just heard and is working though. See this as a time to teach your child values, but if you start to insist or argue for your side, he will become more entrenched in his. Opinions are not set in stone during the teen years, but fluctuate according to the ever shifting mood and who is influencing him from the outside world.

Kids’ unusual ideas can be anxiety provoking to parents if you give it power and make it out to be more than it is. If you start to panic at what you hear, tell yourself, “Jeez-Louise, it is just his IDEA or OPINION at this moment. What if I just hear it through as if it’s an idea, not something he is actually going to do? Kids’ opinions are fickle, they change all the time.” Then think back to some weird belief that he used to have and how that changed. Don’t buy into your fear that he will always thing this way or act it out.

So if you are worried about her dressing Goth or playing Doom or games with too much gore, see it as another children phase that he is going through. Just as the monsters under the bed phrase or calling everyone “Poopie” chapter of your lives together that drove you crazy, this too will pass, if you let it. I thought I would go crazy as a young mother when my children went through the phrase of calling each other fatso. Guess what? They outgrew it.

Try to understand that children do go through phases and the best thing to do is just ride them out. Learn active listening and work on cleaning up your lecturing so you can talk in the ways that your children will actually listen. You are the adult here! Most of your values will come through in the long run if you don’t protest too much about their latest one. The longer you protest in days, months and years, the longer their phase will be. Don’t turn differences in values into a power struggle.

Look for my article Parent Cues To Teach Children To Express Upset Feelings at www.angriesout.com or other articles for help with communicating with children at www.timetoloveyourself.com/blog.



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